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 Post subject: Re: Mormonism not Christian...
PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2012 5:29 am 
MCB wrote:
I see it as a problem of degree. Against the "gold standard," Mormonism is just too far out there. Perhaps if some Catholic theologian might some day invent a scale by which one could quantify divergence from the standard, we would see that Mormonism occupies a place that has been unoccupied since 300 AD (unless you would count the more esoteric units within Masonry). But it would be difficult, because of the Gnostic character of Mormonism, to use anything more than a range score, because of the variations within, and the lack of stable doctrine. Mormonism is today closer to the standard than it was in the 1900's (thank God!!) but that is because of the influence of the larger society. I am mostly concerned about the residuals of 19th century Mormonism.


The different Trinity is just another residual from the multiplicity of gods of the nineteenth century. I don't think that is the worst of the problems.

LULU, how come we think alike so much?

Great minds. LOL

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 Post subject: Re: Mormonism not Christian...
PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2012 5:49 am 
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MCB wrote:
I see it as a problem of degree. Against the "gold standard," Mormonism is just too far out there. Perhaps if some Catholic theologian might some day invent a scale by which one could quantify divergence from the standard, we would see that Mormonism occupies a place that has been unoccupied since 300 AD (unless you would count the more esoteric units within Masonry). But it would be difficult, because of the Gnostic character of Mormonism, to use anything more than a range score, because of the variations within, and the lack of stable doctrine. Mormonism is today closer to the standard than it was in the 1900's (thank God!!) but that is because of the influence of the larger society. I am mostly concerned about the residuals of 19th century Mormonism.


The different Trinity is just another residual from the multiplicity of gods of the nineteenth century. I don't think that is the worst of the problems.

LULU, how come we think alike so much?
But classicly, it has never been a matter of degree, it has been a matter of categories. If Roman theology wants to switch from categories to degrees, that it's privilege. But it should be upfront about it, discuss it openly and thoroughly (thorough being an RC theology characteristic). Right now, we have a sub silentio creation of a new category especially for Mormons. I don't think that's a good way to go.

Why do we think alike? I'm an aw-full, liberation theology inspired, high church, empirical evidence based, Taoist wanna be.

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 Post subject: Re: Mormonism not Christian...
PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2012 5:59 am 
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Why do we think alike? I'm an aw-full, liberation theology inspired, high church, empirical evidence based, Taoist wanna be.
That explains it!! :razz:

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 Post subject: Re: Mormonism not Christian...
PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2012 8:46 am 
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lulu wrote:
But classicly, it has never been a matter of degree, it has been a matter of categories. If Roman theology wants to switch from categories to degrees, that it's privilege. But it should be upfront about it, discuss it openly and thoroughly (thorough being an RC theology characteristic). Right now, we have a sub silentio creation of a new category especially for Mormons. I don't think that's a good way to go.


Mormonism isn't in a special category. It's clear for Roman Catholics. It is by a valid baptism that a person is initiated into a Christian life. If you have a valid baptism, you're a Christian religion, if you don't, you aren't.

Mormons, Oneness Pentecostals and Christadelphians are the three I can think of off the top of my head that do not have valid baptisms, and therefore are not Christian religions. All because of their rejection of the Triune God, Who is the Christian God.

That isn't to say that people who belong to these religions are not seeking Christ. They do so in a non-Christian framework.

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 Post subject: Re: Mormonism not Christian...
PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2012 9:01 am 
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That isn't to say that people who belong to these religions are not seeking Christ. They do so in a non-Christian framework.

LOL Interesting paradox. But even if they shed their different Trinity, there is too much else in the LDS faith that is divergent from Christianity. Their suspicions about the purity of the Bible, for example.

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 Post subject: Re: Mormonism not Christian...
PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2012 9:14 am 
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lulu, one of my Nepali friends is a devout Hindu who includes Jesus among the deities he worships. Every day his wife makes puja to Jesus. I should mention at this point that Hinduism (for lack of a better word; really we're talking about entirely different Indic religions, but let's keep it simple) is actually monotheistic. All the different deities are understood to be manifestations of the One True God.

Is my friend a Christian?


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 Post subject: Re: Mormonism not Christian...
PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2012 9:22 am 
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MCB wrote:
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That isn't to say that people who belong to these religions are not seeking Christ. They do so in a non-Christian framework.

LOL Interesting paradox. But even if they shed their different Trinity, there is too much else in the LDS faith that is divergent from Christianity. Their suspicions about the purity of the Bible, for example.


It is interesting, but also makes for a difficult path. From my view, Mormonism makes things more difficult than they need to be.

There's a long list for Mormon beliefs that are outside of Christianity, but I still think the root of every Mormon error is based on its teachings about God.

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 Post subject: Re: Mormonism not Christian...
PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2012 9:26 am 
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Once they yield on that, maybe it will become a waterslide into the pool of true Christianity. :smile:

ETA: The Book of Mormon teaches the True Trinity

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Last edited by MCB on Wed Jun 06, 2012 9:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Mormonism not Christian...
PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2012 9:32 am 
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MCB wrote:
Once they yield on that, maybe it will become a waterslide into the pool of true Christianity. :smile:


Working in RCIA, with more than a few former LDS, I see this with individuals. It was my own experience as well.

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 Post subject: Re: Mormonism not Christian...
PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2012 11:25 am 
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Samantabhadra wrote:
lulu, one of my Nepali friends is a devout Hindu who includes Jesus among the deities he worships. Every day his wife makes puja to Jesus. I should mention at this point that Hinduism (for lack of a better word; really we're talking about entirely different Indic religions, but let's keep it simple) is actually monotheistic. All the different deities are understood to be manifestations of the One True God.

Is my friend a Christian?

In classical Christian terms, she's either a heretic or a heathen.

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 Post subject: Re: Mormonism not Christian...
PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2012 11:57 am 
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madeleine wrote:
lulu wrote:
But classicly, it has never been a matter of degree, it has been a matter of categories. If Roman theology wants to switch from categories to degrees, that it's privilege. But it should be upfront about it, discuss it openly and thoroughly (thorough being an RC theology characteristic). Right now, we have a sub silentio creation of a new category especially for Mormons. I don't think that's a good way to go.


Mormonism isn't in a special category. It's clear for Roman Catholics. It is by a valid baptism that a person is initiated into a Christian life. If you have a valid baptism, you're a Christian religion, if you don't, you aren't.

Mormons, Oneness Pentecostals and Christadelphians are the three I can think of off the top of my head that do not have valid baptisms, and therefore are not Christian religions. All because of their rejection of the Triune God, Who is the Christian God.

That isn't to say that people who belong to these religions are not seeking Christ. They do so in a non-Christian framework.
An invalid baptism was on indicia of heresy. It was not proof that one was a pagan or a heathen.

If one wants to re-do the theology, that's perfectly acceptable. That's what religions do. But I think to be intellectually honest about it, one must first make transparent the history of the ideas under consideration. Otherwise, its not theology, it's public relations.

madeleine, please engage directly with the classical Christian terminology of orthodox, schismatic, heretic, infidel, pagan and heathen.

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 Post subject: Re: Mormonism not Christian...
PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2012 12:38 pm 
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lulu wrote:
madeleine wrote:

Mormonism isn't in a special category. It's clear for Roman Catholics. It is by a valid baptism that a person is initiated into a Christian life. If you have a valid baptism, you're a Christian religion, if you don't, you aren't.

Mormons, Oneness Pentecostals and Christadelphians are the three I can think of off the top of my head that do not have valid baptisms, and therefore are not Christian religions. All because of their rejection of the Triune God, Who is the Christian God.

That isn't to say that people who belong to these religions are not seeking Christ. They do so in a non-Christian framework.
An invalid baptism was on indicia of heresy. It was not proof that one was a pagan or a heathen.

If one wants to re-do the theology, that's perfectly acceptable. That's what religions do. But I think to be intellectually honest about it, one must first make transparent the history of the ideas under consideration. Otherwise, its not theology, it's public relations.

madeleine, please engage directly with the classical Christian terminology of orthodox, schismatic, heretic, infidel, pagan and heathen.


Heresies are addressed as they arise, which is not PR but addressing a heresy. To be a heretic, in Catholicism, you have to first be a Catholic. Martin Luther was a heretic. Thomas S. Monson is not.

Mormonism has never been declared heretical, because first it would have to have been Christian. Strictly speaking, it is not a heretical Christian sect because it isn't Christian and never has been.

Mormonism is not schismatic or infidel. It has a strong pagan influence/leanings and has adopted (or recast) some Christian heresies, creating a new religion. It seems to go purposely out of the way to not adopt any teachings that are apostolic in origin. If the apostolic faith is so rejected at the foundation, it is impossible for the religion to be heretical. If you want to slot it, firmly in one place, I'd say it falls under paganism. The multiple gods doing it in there. Recasting the Persons of the Holy Trinity into paganized gods (and themselves as well), making it more Greek/Roman than Christian. That would make it heathen, being neither Jewish, Christian or Muslim. But that is my opinion, not the Roman Curia.

Ancient heresies, from the Catholic view, were heresies because they deviated from apostolic teaching. Meaning, the group or individuals were at one time *not* heretical. Heresies arise most often by people or groups who focus on one thing, very intensely, removing that *thing* from the context of the whole faith. Creating new explanations, doctrines, etc.

This has never happened with Mormonism. It is not a heresy that arose from the apostolic faith, but is a new religion that arose, using Christian terminology and scripture, but recasting both into a non-Christian context with new meanings.

Catholic theology does not always approach a question by explaining what is, but rather will explain what it is not. What Mormonism is, is not something I've seen addressed, in an official capacity. What has been addressed is what it is not, the Roman Curia promulgating a decision that Mormon baptisms are not valid...that makes the religion, for Catholics, not a Christian religion.

I haven't seen a St. Irenaeus type "Against Mormonism", though, some of what he wrote in "Against Heresies" can be applied to Mormonism.

"1. Such, then, is their system, which neither the prophets announced, nor the Lord taught, nor the apostles delivered, but of which they boast that beyond all others they have a perfect knowledge. They gather their views from other sources than the Scriptures; and, to use a common proverb, they strive to weave ropes of sand, while they endeavour to adapt with an air of probability to their own peculiar assertions the parables of the Lord, the sayings of the prophets, and the words of the apostles, in order that their scheme may not seem altogether without support. In doing so, however, they disregard the order and the connection of the Scriptures, and so far as in them lies, dismember and destroy the truth. By transferring passages, and dressing them up anew, and making one thing out of another, they succeed in deluding many through their wicked are in adapting the oracles of the Lord to their opinions. Their manner of acting is just as if one, when a beautiful image of a king has been constructed by some skilful artist out of precious jewels, should then take this likeness of the man all to pieces, should rearrange the gems, and so fit them together as to make them into the form of a dog or of a fox, and even that but poorly executed; and should then maintain and declare that this was the beautiful image of the king which the skilful artist constructed, pointing to the jewels which had been admirably fitted together by the first artist to form the image of the king, but have been with bad effect transferred by the latter one to the shape of a dog, and by thus exhibiting the jewels, should deceive the ignorant who had no conception what a king's form was like, and persuade them that that miserable likeness of the fox was, in fact, the beautiful image of the king. In like manner do these persons patch together old wives' fables, and then endeavour, by violently drawing away from their proper connection, words, expressions, and parables whenever found, to adapt the oracles of God to their baseless fictions. We have already stated how far they proceed in this way with respect to the interior of the Pleroma." (Against Heresies (Book I, Chapter 8 "How the Valentinians pervert the Scriptures to support their own pious opinions."))

Hope that helps but isn't too harsh for the LDS ears.

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 Post subject: Re: Mormonism not Christian...
PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2012 2:03 pm 
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Thanks madeleine I think you expressed the crux of the matter beautifully.


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 Post subject: Re: Mormonism not Christian...
PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2012 2:17 pm 
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It makes me wonder if the Mormons used ECF heresiologists, either directly or indirectly, to construct their religion. However, that opinion has already been expressed on this thread. I must say, St. Irenaeus and St. Clement hit it directly. Mormonism is a restoration, not of Christianity, but of Gnosticism. Both integrated some Christian teachings, as well as Greek ones, into their castles built in mid-air, without foundations.

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 Post subject: Re: Mormonism not Christian...
PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2012 3:07 pm 
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Is it all right if we take these 1 at a time?
madeleine wrote:
Heresies are addressed as they arise, which is not PR but addressing a heresy. To be a heretic, in Catholicism, you have to first be a Catholic.
We're not talking about Catholicism, we're talking about Christianity.

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Last edited by lulu on Wed Jun 06, 2012 3:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Mormonism not Christian...
PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2012 3:09 pm 
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MCB wrote:
Mormonism is a restoration, not of Christianity, but of Gnosticism.
Do you have a reference that Gnosticism was not Christian?

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 Post subject: Re: Mormonism not Christian...
PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2012 3:42 pm 
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Quick review: :biggrin: Definition of terms-- Christianity with a Gnostic flavor is mysticism. St. Clement in Stromata is very positive about Christianity with a Gnostic flavor, and uses the term freely, while criticizing the Gnostics by school, who go too far. St. Iraenaus, however, uses the term Gnostic for those who go too far, while (I think) saying nothing about mysticism.

I prefer to delineate. Gnosticism crosses the boundary. Mysticism does not. And few use the term Gnostic in a pejorative sense. It may be more acceptable to Mormons, and also frees them from correlation, and, as individuals, to drift towards mainstream Christianity.

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Last edited by MCB on Wed Jun 06, 2012 4:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Mormonism not Christian...
PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2012 3:43 pm 
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lulu wrote:
Is it all right if we take these 1 at a time?
madeleine wrote:
Heresies are addressed as they arise, which is not PR but addressing a heresy. To be a heretic, in Catholicism, you have to first be a Catholic.
We're not talking about Catholicism, we're talking about Christianity.


You're the one who asked I go to classic definitions, which are all: Catholic. If you want something more recent, I don't know how to address what you are looking for. How does a Protestant define heresy? I haven no idea, since, they are living in their own heresies.

Comes back to MCB saying, it's a matter of degree. Mainline Protestants have their heresies, but none major enough that causes them to be of a different faith. Mormons have their heretical teachings, that they have borrowed, and non-Christian teachings that have nothing to do with Christianity, at all.

One Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. (Eph 4:5-6)

One Lord.
One faith.
One baptism.
One God.

We take those four things seriously when looking at other religions. Mormonism isn't of the same Lord, faith, baptism or God. Mainline Protestants are. The root error, being One God. Mormons aren't worshipping the same God that Christians are. That fact informs everything else about what is taught and believed.

A relativistic view isn't possible from a Catholic POV. Mainly, when I see arguments for viewing Mormonism as a Christian religion, it is asking two things. 1) To take a relativistic view and/or 2) to reduce the meaning of Christian to a level of absurdity. To the point that even an atheist who views Jesus Christ in a positive manner would be considered "Christian".

Everyone knows atheists are infidels. :mrgreen:

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 Post subject: Re: Mormonism not Christian...
PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2012 4:28 pm 
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Since Catholicism was the norm for 1500 years, to use it as the gold standard is natural. Although, of course, Maddy and I also have the other reason. :biggrin:

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 Post subject: Re: Mormonism not Christian...
PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2012 6:22 pm 
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madeleine wrote:
You're the one who asked I go to classic definitions, which are all: Catholic.
You've heard of Orthodoxy and the Church of East?

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 Post subject: Re: Mormonism not Christian...
PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2012 6:24 pm 
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MCB wrote:
Quick review: :biggrin: Definition of terms-- Christianity with a Gnostic flavor is mysticism. St. Clement in Stromata is very positive about Christianity with a Gnostic flavor, and uses the term freely, while criticizing the Gnostics by school, who go too far. St. Iraenaus, however, uses the term Gnostic for those who go too far, while (I think) saying nothing about mysticism.

I prefer to delineate. Gnosticism crosses the boundary. Mysticism does not. And few use the term Gnostic in a pejorative sense. It may be more acceptable to Mormons, and also frees them from correlation, and, as individuals, to drift towards mainstream Christianity.
All of which says nothing about whether Gnostics were Christians, which was the question.

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